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I manage IT for a medium sized company that shares a lot of Excel 2010 files between users at various times of the day. We're using a Terminal Server environment (S2008R2).

Sometimes, a user will try to open an Excel file and get the message that the file is locked by %user% (it names the user) with the "Read Only", "Notify", "Cancel" options, but that user isn't even logged in to the domain.

Today, I had one user try to open an Excel file that said it was locked by a user that hasn't been with the company for 5 weeks. The user's AD account was disabled weeks ago. The server has even been rebooted since then.

How is this possible, and how can I stop this from happening?

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This can be frustrating for sure. Are you certain no one has used the now-disabled account to edit a file since the server was restarted? – uSlackr Jun 6 '11 at 15:22
@uSlackr Yes, I'm sure. The terminal server has been restarted since the user's account was disabled. The AD server, which is also the file server, has not. – milkmood Jun 6 '11 at 15:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It happens. If a user doesn't properly close a file (workstation reboot, TS session crashed) then Windows stills sees the file as open. You can close the files from the File Management console on the file server. If you don't see the files listed as open you may need to reboot the file server to release the lock.

To help prevent this in the future you can instruct the users on how to close all of their applications and open files before when quitting work for the day.

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We're dealing with two servers here... the Terminal Server has been restarted since the user's AD account was disabled. The file server, which is also the AD server has not been restarted. – milkmood Jun 6 '11 at 15:34
The TS can't "detect" that the files are open, only the file server can do that. Look for the open files in the File Server management console on the file server. If they aren't listed then give the file server a reboot. – joeqwerty Jun 6 '11 at 15:54
It matters where the file is stored, not where it is accessed from. – KCotreau Jun 6 '11 at 15:55

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